President Bush gave a speech tonight on the one year anniversary of the (largely symbolic) transfer of Iraqi power from the US’ Coalitional Provision Authority to the US puppets at the interim government. Clearly, this is part of a PR counter-offensive (coupled with the recent Republican declarations that liberals are pussies and traitors and pedophiles) to the drooping public support for the Iraq war. I imagine that this speech will give Bush a mild, temporary spring upwards in the polls, if anyone bothered to watch the speech. Which they probably didn’t.
As is my tradition, I never watch or listen to the president’s speeches, because it would cause me to die young (I accidentally caught about 40 seconds of it on my car radio and was screaming “fuck you!!” repeatedly). Instead, I just read them online, after the fact.
I knew this manufactured event was coming, and dreaded it. I thought about how the press would act like this is another battle between Democrat and Republican, and the White House would try to spin the speech one way and the Dems would try to counterspin it and blah blah blah. I decided that I had no interest in spinning anything. I decided instead to take this speech, nail it to the wall, cut its arms off, then start tearing its organs out, and watch it die as it tried to breathe without any lungs.
So let’s get started with that, shall we?
Good evening. I am pleased to visit Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces. It is an honor to speak before you tonight.
Y’know what’s funny? To me, Fort Bragg is most famous for the shocking series of murders in the summer of 2002, where four Fort Bragg soldiers killed their wives.
At first, these murders seemed to be a horrifying example of human killing machines gone wrong, or of the military’s blind eye towards domestic violence. Then, a second hypothesis emerged, that these soldiers were suffering from psychotic side effects of their military-prescribed anti-malaria drug, Lariam. Which might actually be the explanation.
And that’s where the president chooses to give his speech. Surely not the symbolism he was looking for.
My greatest responsibility as president is to protect the American people
“And by ‘American people’, I mean ‘wealthy American people.’ Y’all understand that, right?”
I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work. The soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace. America is grateful and so is your commander in chief.
“Notice how my lips are saying words like ‘thank you’ and ‘grateful’, not words like ‘pay raise’, ‘adequate funding for equipment’ or ‘timetable for withdrawl.’”
The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror.
I really hate this “war on terror” bullshit. “Terror” is an emotion, and our soldiers are not shooting bullets at it. We’re at war with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, some of its allies, and militant Iraqis who want the US to stop occupying their country.
The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, driving us out of the region and by exporting terror.
This is surprisingly accurate for a Bush speech. Well, it’s accurate as long as he is describing Al Qaeda and other Islamist movements and not anybody else. But I imagine that he’d like to lump the Iraqi resistance into that group. In fact, I’m pretty sure he will before the speech is out.
To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September 11, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.
Wow, doesn’t the president have a huge cock? I mean, he says manly stuff like that, so his penis must be enormous. And although it looks clean-shaven, I’m sure his face is covered in manly stubble. And he smells like leather. And gunpowder.
True, we did “take the fight to the enemy” when we attacked Afghanistan. We also killed a hell of a lot of innocent Afghans, sent others to Guantanamo, and then left the people at the mercy of the warlords, but I’ll be damned if we didn’t take the war to the enemy. And then we overshot the enemy and invaded Iraq. Not sure what that “defending our freedom” shit is about. Al Qaeda just wants to kill me. The only people threatening my freedom are in Washington DC.
Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, “We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us.”
I love the rhetorical change-up here. Watch how it goes.
1) The United States invaded Iraq for the entirely selfless act of saving its people from oppression and suffering. That’s it, that’s the only reason we’re there.
2) It’s too dangerous to fight the war on terrorism on American soil, let’s do it in Iraq so that all the death and destruction happens to them.
Please, Republicans, pick one fake argument and stick with it.
Our mission in Iraq is clear. We are hunting down the terrorists. We are helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We are advancing freedom in the broader Middle East.
“Our mission is clear. We are hunting down terrorists, who didn’t exist before we turned Baghdad into a gravel pit. We are helping Iraqis build a fake democracy that will need our permission to do so much as fart. We are advancing freedom in the Middle East, except for Iran, and Pakistan, and Egypt. And Kuwait. And Turkey. And Qatar. But how bout that Lebanon? Eh? Eh?”
We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren.
“Whoops, couple typos here. We are CREATING a source of violence and DEMOLISHING the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren.”
The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why.
This oughtta be good. Bring it on.
Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy, in prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world.
I’ll let Prof. Juan Cole field this one:
Maybe 8 percent of the fighters in Iraq are foreign jihadis. Of the some 25,000 guerrillas, almost all are Iraqi Sunni Arabs who dislike foreign military occupation of their country. You could imagine what people in Alabama or Kentucky would do if foreign troops came in and tried to set up checkpoints in their neighborhoods.
Moreover, many of those jihadis fighting in Iraq wouldn’t even be jihadis if they weren’t outraged by Bush’s invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.
The fact is that the US went in and convinced the Sunni Arabs of Iraq that we were going to screw them over royally, driving them into violent opposition. They aren’t inherently terrorists and could have been won over.
Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: “This Third World War is raging” in Iraq. “The whole world is watching this war.” He says it will end in “victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”
The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened or defeated. So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take.
You hear that? If we don’t stay in Iraq and outrage so many Muslims that they become anti-American militants, then the terrorists might become stronger!
We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. And we see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see.
Another sloppy rhetorical move. The insurgents are all barbarous terrorists who understand no language except force. Frankly, it seems more likely that the insurgents are former Iraqi military who lost their livelihoods when the US disbanded the Iraqi army. And in their anger, desperation, and national pride, they have decided to kill as many Americans and Iraqi “collaborators” as necessary to get the Americans to go home. But no, they’re all mindless, head-chopping sadists.
These are savage acts of violence but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives. The terrorists, both foreign and Iraqi, failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq’s diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large numbers with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy.
“But we haven’t accomplished our strategic objectives yet either. Hell, we thought we’d be out of this country 18-months ago.”
The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden. For the sake of our nation’s security, this will not happen on my watch.
“Or, maybe the terrorists just haven’t tried hard enough to stop the advance of freedom. Damn slackers.”
I think what Bush is trying to say in the latter part of that segment is that just as the chaos of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan allowed Al Qaeda to organize and train there, so would a de-occupied Iraq become a new Al Qadea home.
Ooh, and it won’t happen on his watch? How’s he fit those huge balls into his slacks?
In the past year, we have made significant progress: One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people.
Right. Because a people can have sovereignty when a foreign army occupying your lands.
In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair and took place on time.
A free election… under a foreign military occupation.
We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard and rebuilding while a country is at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven but progress is being made. We are improving roads and schools and health clinics and working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity and water. Together with our allies, we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.
People in Baghdad still don’t have full electricity and water. And that’s the capital of the whole country! Oh, and don’t mention “progress in rebuilding” to the people of Falluja. You’re likely to get stabbed.
In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing nonmilitary assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections. Thus far, some 40 countries and three international organizations have pledged about 34 billion dollars in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. More than 80 countries and international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security and rebuild their country. And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction.
As I recall, Afghanistan got a lot of pledges too… pledges that never seemed to fully materialize.
Whatever our differences in the past, the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations. As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said at the White House yesterday, “There can be no question a stable and democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany, but also Europe.”
“We are so fucked in Iraq that I’ll even ask my enemies for help.”
Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces. We have made gains in both the number and quality of those forces. Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions. Iraqi forces have fought bravely helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf, Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties.
This is fucking ridiculous. Sure, there are tens of thousands of Iraqis who’ve gone through “training”, but that training is pretty rudimentary. While the US military is saying that there are 169,000 newly trained Iraqi soldiers, they admit that only 3 of the new 107 Iraqi batallions are “capable of operating independently. Which, if we do the math… means around 4700 Iraqi soldiers are ready to replace the 150,000 American soldiers who can’t beat the rebels.
On top of that, the new police and military seem to be pretty thoroughly infiltrated by insurgents, making the whole enterprise kinda questionable.
So our strategy going forward has both a military track and a political track.
The principal task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists and that is why we are on the offense. And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
Okay, we’ve already discussed this. On top of that, Bush is ignoring (or is ignorant of) the fact that they tactics and behavior of the US troops and their government in Iraq are creating mroe terrorists. I don’t see what’s so hard to understand about that. I’m not saying “let’s be nice to the terrorists.” Those guys are a lost cause, fuck em. I’m saying let’s not give regular Middle Eastern folks a reason to get angry at the US, because sometimes that anger brings mortar fire along with it.
To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps:
You can read those three steps, but they basically amount to “we are helping the Iraqi soldiers to get ready to take our place.”
So, to recap so far:
- “America had to attack Iraq because of the terrorists.”
- “But we won’t be there much longer, cuz we’re training Iraqis to do our work for us.”
He keeps making this second point again and again, so I’m deleting them.
I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces.
“And I’m one of those people.”
Re: Clinton’s war in Kosovo:
“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
- George W. Bush, 4/9/99
“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
- George W. Bush, 6/5/99
Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer.
At least this time Bush uses actual logic. But since the insurgency is a direct result of the American presence in Iraq… I can’t agree with his conclusions.
Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don’t you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are in fact working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders.
“If I send in more troops, it looks like I’m wrong. And I can never ever admit to that. Only liberals make mistakes. Ann Coulter told me so.”
Bush just spent a bunch of paragraphs detailing how Iraq is going to become a democracy. Remember, the blueprint is not the building. Just cuz something looks good on paper doesn’t mean that your finished project will look good, or indeed anything like your original idea.
As Iraqis make progress toward a free society, the effects are being felt beyond Iraq’s borders. Before our coalition liberated Iraq, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Today the leader of Libya has given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs. Across the broader Middle East, people are claiming their freedom. In the last few months, we have witnessed elections in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. These elections are inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Our strategy to defend ourselves and spread freedom is working. The rise of freedom in this vital region will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder and make our nation safer.
While Bush likes to pretend that bombing Iraq led to Libya’s disarmament, it was more due to years of negotiations with the British. Palestinian elections are nothing new, but the Lebanese election was. Go Lebanon! We’ve seen little reform and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s reform looks to be a facade.
“Terrorists are bad, and America is strong. 9-11 9-11.”
In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending letters to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defense has set up a Web site, AmericaSupportsYou.mil. You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all.
I don’t support the troops, I support people. Some of the soldiers are good folks who believe lies that they are told. Some are scared people trying to make a living and make it home to see their kids again. And some are sadists who enjoy the harm they do. You could probably say the same thing about any soldiers in any army in history. And like any compassionate person, I want everyone on all sides of the conflict to stop killing and join their families at home as soon as they can. This means sending the US troops home as quickly as possible.
I understand about fighting for freedom, or protection, or your loved ones. But the US troops are not doing any of these things right now. They’re fighting and dying because some arrogant bastards in Washington think that the world spins a little more smoothly when greased with the right kinds of blood.
To the soldiers in this hall, and our servicemen and women across the globe: I thank you for your courage under fire and your service to our nation. I thank our military families; the burden of war falls especially hard on you. In this war, we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom and did not live to make the journey home. I have met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon. I have been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss. We pray for the families. And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission.
“Thanks to all the veterans and soldiers who, I can use as props to drape all my policies in stars and spangles.”
I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation’s uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom.
“Sure, I had my daddy’s friends pull some strings to get me into the national guard instead of service in Vietnam. But that shouldn’t prevent you poor people from enlisting to participate in, or be the victim of, a petroleum-based murder.”
After September 11, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult and that we would prevail. Well, it has been difficult. And we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military.
“Lies. Boasting. Flattery. Flag.”
May God bless you all.